Make Your Automotive Website Work Harder
As a marketing company, we strive to connect our clients with their customers and create engagement. Good engagement is about moving people from intention to commitment, from interest to involvement and from acceptance to enthusiasm. Your automotive website is a good place to start engaging.
However, I still come across automotive companies who’s websites fail to engage with their customers on so many different levels.
When I get the opportunity to speak to some of these companies, a common response is that their website is ‘just a shop window’.
So what is the problem with having an automotive website that is just a shop window?
Well, if you don’t want your website to attract new business, engage with existing customers and maintain any customer loyalty – there’s nothing wrong with it – fill your boots (as they say).
The internet has changed considerably in the last 10 years and so has the way people and buyers of B2B products and services make purchase decisions. The thinking that your website can act just as a shop window, frankly, belongs back in 2002. The internet is now a more sharing and social space (like it or not) with most buying research done online. Check out our Guide to the B2B Buying Cycle for more in depth analysis of how this works.
These days visitors to your website are hungry for information, especially in the technical and engineering sectors. They want to be informed, they want your opinion and they want to share useful information they find with their colleagues and peers. Providing information relevant and useful to your customers has never been so important. By providing your visitors with useful content you not only inform them, you also educate them, build trust, loyalty and advocacy.
Now is the time to make your automotive website work harder for you
In order to keep your customers and prospects returning to and using your website (helping them through the Buying Cycle) you should really start thinking about how you can turn your website into a resource or information hub – not just a shop window.
Your most important marketing tool
Your website is your most important marketing tool and has the greatest opportunity to create new leads and opportunities for your automotive business. In order to attract visitors and keep them coming back to your website over and over again, you need to have something for them to come back for. What you need is content. What do I mean by content? I’m so glad you asked.
Content can be described as any information that informs, educates or entertains your audience. It can take many forms, including blogs, video, image galleries, datasheet downloads, webinars, technical forums and so on. Anything that allows your visitors to interact with your site and your company is a good form of engagement. You should look to continually develop and provide relevant and useful content on your website, addressing common issues faced by the target market you serve.
Producing content that is either useful, insightful or entertaining is a great way to encourage your visitors to interact with your automotive website. Some suggestions for creating content that can help to bring visitors back time and time again could include:
- White papers & e-books
- Technical blogs
- Provide a document library (where visitors can download technical information, product specs, CAD drawings, designs, etc.)
- Create case studies that prove your technical capabilities and thinking processes
- Conduct webinars
- Online product specifiers
- Hold technical Q&A sessions through forums
- Slideshare presentations
These are all valuable resources to attract new customers, communicate your brand and encourage repeat visits. You can put your content on your website freely available for anyone to access or you could chose to put it behind a simple registration process and capture visitors details to your CRM (keep any registration forms simple and quick to complete – basic information only).
Don’t forget to create content for the different buying stages. If we bear in mind the Buying Cycle, not everyone is ready to buy right now. Buyers do more of their own research before engaging with a sales rep (mostly online) or contacting you so you should ensure you create content that covers the entire range of the Buying Cycle. A visitor at the top of the Buying Cycle (research phase) may be more interested in technical guides, white papers or ebooks, whereas someone further down the cycle (closing to purchase stage) may be more interested in a free trial, case study, demo or technical Q&A. Create content for each stage of the Buying Cycle to help guide visitors through your sales funnel.
Measure the Results
Remember, what ever you chose to do, track the results through Google Analytics so you can see what works and what doesn’t, what content is popular, what sources the visits come from and how they convert into leads. Setting up landing pages and registration pages as Goals in your Analytics will allow you to track visitor information in greater depth and build a clear picture of your users. See our guide on Getting started with Google Analytics.
Measurement through Google Analytics is essential in guiding and expanding your Content Strategy as the figures will give a you clear indication of what your customers find useful. Remember, your website isn’t for you – just because you (or your boss) finds a subject fascinating doesn’t mean your customers do.
If you regularly produce valuable content, consider starting some form of periodical Newsletter. Allow your website visitors to sign up to receive your monthly/weekly (however frequently you choose) updates and reviews. Make sure you have permission from your recipients before you send your newsletters – unsolicited information and emails amounts to spam, no matter how useful you think the information is. Email systems such as MailChimp, or DotMailer provide great HTML Email systems and also provide extensive reporting for you to measure the effectiveness of your newsletters. View our guide to creating successful HTML emails here.
Be a Resource not a Shop Window
There’s no longer any good argument for your automotive website to continue being just brochure site or a shop window. By turning your website into a resource you will start to make your website work harder for you. You’ll be providing a reason for your visitors to keep coming back by providing real value. The more your visitors value your content, the more they will return and the more they’ll find out about your company, the more they’ll be convinced and ensured about your expertise and your capabilities and the more likely they are to buy from you.
By having just a shop window you’re forcing your customers to just window shop. Invite them in, engage with them and get them to actually buy from you.
CMB are experts in helping automotive companies create a better online experience for their visitors and converting their visitors in to leads and customers.
Contact CMB to find out how we can help get your website working harder for you by turning it into a resource that will generate more leads for your business.